Reflections of an Asthmatic Runner

OK, so it sounds like asthma is my first real issue, but it’s not. However, in all honesty it is the single thing that impacts my run the most. If I can run regularly, even if it’s slow, my asthma is NOT a huge issue. However, there are many things that get in my way to this regular goal. Kids, chronic migraines, and actually the asthma itself. How kids get in the way is, well the most obvious and they are by far the least impactful of the 3 issues.

You’d think one couldn’t run with Chronic Migraines, but I do. I run on migraines and off migraines. I run medicated and unmedicated. Sometimes I pass out when I run and other times it “takes the edge off” when I run. The bottom line is, there are times when I cannot run despite my most stubborn attitude. These times can be just a week or so to maybe a few weeks to an entire month. The longer the time, the quicker my run and my lungs begin to deteriorate and the harder it is for me to get back out and run.

Asthma holds me back the most. Mind you, I have trouble when I’m active and when it’s very cold outside, but this isn’t actually the biggest problem. The problem with my asthma is that whenever ANYONE in the house gets sick, even IF I don’t get it, often times I end up asthmatic. These asthmatic periods can last from weeks to months. Previously no one recognized the fact that the chronic cough I experienced was asthma and unless it got so bad I could barely breathe no one would help me.

To be honest, running with my “regular” asthma slows my run time down, but I find that each year I can keep going I get just a little bit better. I run to what my body can handle and often to the brink of asthma, but never beyond. However, running life for me is all about me praying I don’t get one of the “illness” asthma attacks because those affect me for a longer period and it’s more than just a string of coughing after a run or during a temperature change. Illness asthma keeps me from sleeping, moving, going from the house to the car and in general just kills me.

Between the asthmatic episodes and the migraines, I often feel like every small success is often marked by a step back shortly thereafter as well. There are days that I feel like giving up and just staying home to eat the cupcake and watch MASH reruns, but the bottom line is that these lungs have come a long way. In Highschool, I never could have run 3 miles for anything and in my 30’s I ran a half marathon. I have internal crazy running goals and if I give up I will never see if I can make them.

I don’t look to my friends for motivation. They know the chronic pain and issues I go through. They know how much I push myself and so they are often the first ones who think I deserve a break. Maybe I do, but a break is NOT going to get me to where I want to go. I find my motivation within my own soul because if I can’t create my own motivation, what chance does this asthmatic runner have?



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